This year, my torment and beloved Nottingham Forest F.C, celebrate 150 years as a professional club, making it the world’s third oldest after our not-so-noisy neighbors down at Meadow Lane. Of those 150 years, I have spent 50 of them supporting the club from the terraces to listening from afar on a dodgy shortwave radio. My affiliations began in the mid 1960’s with a polite written request to the club for the autographs of the players that were lightening up the English First Division, spearheaded by the great Ian Storey-Moore. That piece of pinkish stationary was my most treasured item for many childhood years.
The troubled 1970’s were happily interrupted by trips to the City Ground, marveling at a genius partnership of Clough & Taylor mould and inspire a team, a club, a city to new and intoxicating heights that have set the standards for years to come. They were the best of times, crowned with those victories in Munich and Madrid, the second of which I heard in the Negav Desert, together with a friend and loyal Barcelona fan who chuckled at my dance of delight at the final whistle. Leaving the UK in the early 1980´s for my new adopted city of Copenhagen, my affiliations, not only for the club, but the sport in general, were kept confined, almost secret, as the image of English football and the negative aspects of the tribal behavior of some of its supporters were so uncool.
With Denmark, famously winning the European Championship in 1992, almost in Brian Clough style, I sprang out of my closet, wearing a tight Forest shirt from 1979, to my bewildered Danish friends and colleagues. Even today, with any given opportunity, I briefly remind my willing or reluctant audience, the innovations and glories Nottingham Forest has contributed to the wonderful game of football.
As a new season lies before us, packed with future trials and tribulations and brought to us distant Forest fans via Colin and Robin’s impartial narrative spiced with former player, Steve Hodge’s pleasing partisan contribution by Forest Player on the internet, maybe it’s time to deliver or own Forest story.
Thanks to everyone connected to Nottingham Forest F.C for making these last 50 years a joy.